We're in the 'ention' phase: Attention, Prevention, Retention

So, in the last week of September - two or three weeks into term - and the cracks may be starting to show...... I'm sure by now you will have begun to see the different types of students who will grace your classes in college. Some will need a bit more attention than others, preventative 'behavioural' measures will be tested to the limit, and the all-important CENSUS takes place in a few weeks. We then land into the retention phase.  Let's face it, it feels like a re-run of every other year so far.

BUT! Does it have to be?

If behaviour is starting to get in the way, now's the time to get onto it quickly by getting back to the agreed classroom rules; keep it open for discussion. Threats of disciplinary proceedings without follow- through will soon make your credibility drop. So it's best to avoid that (unless you intend to ride the wave of paperwork and meetings which often give you little gain).

Lateness leads to poor attendance, which leads to poor retention.  To improve punctuality, start your lesson with something unmissable.  But not the register!  Latecomers to your class will not regret missing the register and will use it as a reasonable excuse to be absent.  (In fact it’s years since I’ve ‘taken’ the register, I prefer to do it silently while students are doing stuff.)   If you’re not sure what to do for your intro, be brave and choose something whacky which will spark interest and attention - such as a media clip, optical illusion, brain teaser etc.  It doesn't need to always be curriculum-related.  It humanises you and sets a positive tone for the rest of the lesson.

Oh and if you STILL have tardy students who drift in beyond start time, don't forget to use your late book.  It's all very well making a note of names on the back of your Tesco receipt but that won't be helpful when collating attendance data and it sends out a 'doesn't really matter' signal to the student.  Get your Late Book template and formalise it.

You. Know. It. Makes.  Sense.